December 4, 2018

ER 2.21, Take These Broken Wings: The Kids Are All Right (But Their Parents Aren’t)

Posted in TV tagged , , at 5:11 pm by Jenn

Sherry Stringfield is really good in this story arc

Summary: Susan is talking to someone about Susie, and her struggles with being alone now. Susie’s birthday is coming up, and Susan won’t be with her for it. She’s trying to see the positive side of not having to take care of a baby, saying that her life is going back to the way it was before she was Susie’s mother. She follows a woman into a church to return her dropped scarf, and chats with the priest for a minute. The choir is practicing a song for a christening, and Susan is overwhelmed. The priest asks if he can help her.

At County, Mark is going over the patient load with Weaver and amusing himself by putting some of Rachel’s plastic spiders on the board. Weaver says Susan’s late, but Mark says she worked a few extra hours the night before, so she doesn’t have to come in yet. He thinks Weaver just wants her to be late so she can use it as an excuse not to nominate Susan for chief resident. Lydia interrupts to show off her engagement ring – she and Al (the police officer, not Jeanie’s ex) are engaged.

Doug and Karen go jogging, continuing to be an actual interesting couple while still being kind of gross because of her past with his father. Mark and Weaver keep discussing Susan as they start working on a patient who’s beyond saving. Well, Lydia and Haleh do all the work while Mark and Weaver talk. Lydia shows Haleh her ring over the patient’s body.

Susan goes to the hospital’s daycare to pay her bill, but Dottie, the woman who would deal with it, is on her way out the door for a field trip. Susan looks around the room where Susie spent her days but will never return. All that’s left of her is a pair of paint handprints. At some other point in time, Susan tells someone about Susie’s birth and how much she felt like a part of her niece’s life.

Mark tells Jerry to clear a curtain area since Loretta’s on her way in. Mark treats her as gently and kindly as he always does. Carol finds Susan taking a moment to herself and offers to listen if Susan ever wants to talk. Susan doesn’t. Carol then goes to talk to Riley, chastising him for filing a complaint against Shep. Riley says the job shouldn’t be done the way Shep does it. Carol asks who died and left him the voice of wisdom. “Raul, that’s who,” Riley shoots back. She tells him to get off his high horse and learn something from Shep. But an investigation into Shep’s behavior has already started.

Mark examines Loretta and tries to assure her that her kids are being looked after. Shep complains to Carol about the investigation and how Riley has no right to say anything about his behavior because he’s so new. Carol is siding with Shep and plans to tell the investigator that the kid he pushed just stumbled into the table. But she would appreciate if Shep would go away and leave her alone.

Lydia’s trying to wrangle Loretta’s kids as Carter and Doug take in a ten-year-old patient named T.C. She’s feeling sick and wants to be fixed ASAP so she’ll be ready for a basketball tournament that weekend. As a baby, she had an operation on her liver, and I’m no doctor but I’m pretty sure her yellow skin means something’s wrong with her liver again. Her coach tells Doug that her parents are on the way, but he has to leave her there to go look after the rest of the kids on his team.

Iris appears to still be involved with Mark, since he’s the one she comes to when she has an allergy attack thanks to a photo shoot with cats. Loretta’s kids, Annie and Jimmy, steal her camera while she’s with Mark. A woman brings in her six-month-old, Grace, who isn’t breathing after a seizure. Susan and Weaver try to stay calm while the mother, Mrs. Ramsey, panics. Susan has trouble intubating the baby, so Weaver takes over.

Annie and Jimmy use the camera lens as a telescope to spy on Iris. They also catch Lydia and Al making out. Carter busts them by yelling so loudly that he scares both them and the lovebirds. They flee to a trauma room and spy on Susan, who thinks they’re cute. Her monologue continues as she talks about her childhood. She wishes Chloe had stayed as competent as she was in her younger years, so she would have been a better mother.

Doug and Karen meet up for lunch, and if you’ve never seen a woman in designer clothes eat a hot dog from a street vendor, here’s your chance. She tells Doug that she heard from Ray, who’s living it up on her dime in Mexico. Doug’s surprised that he doesn’t want to see her. Karen wonders if he doesn’t want Ray to come back and find out that his son is sleeping with his girlfriend. Is this all just some bizarre revenge scheme?

Carter and T.C. talk about basketball while Benton examines her. Benton demonstrates that he does actually know how to talk to a young patient by contributing to the conversation. T.C. needs a new liver, and this illness moves her up the waiting list; she’ll also have to stay hospitalized until she gets a transplant. Al (Jeanie’s ex, not Lydia’s fiancé) shows up and asks Benton to examine him since he’s coming down with something.

Iris gets her camera back, and Mark is about to ask her out, I think, when they’re interrupted by a little girl named Lily. She has a hermit crab stuck on her hand, and she’s afraid he’ll die if they cut him off. Iris knows a trick to save the crab, thanks to a Jacques Cousteau ripoff documentary, and she uses some water to do the trick.

Weaver ends up examining Al, and learning that he and Jeanie are married but separated. He thinks he has the flu and just hasn’t been able to shake it for a few weeks. Everyone who’s seen any episode of this show after this one: “Oh, sweetie, no.” Al (okay, I’m calling him Al G. from now on because this freaking show won’t cut me a break) brings in a guy who roughed him up a little, leaving him bruised for his engagement celebration at the Ritz Carlton.

Jeanie learns that Al is at County and takes a look at his chart. She excuses herself as quickly as she can and calls to expedite his test results. Carol meets with the investigator, David Haskell, who presents Shep and Riley’s different narratives of the event in question. Shep says he gave the boy a light shove, while Riley says Shep “slammed” him. Carol lies that she was in the room the whole time, because otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to witness the shove.

Doug tells Mark about his fight with Karen and her accusations about his desire for revenge. Mark says that Ray stealing Karen’s money isn’t Doug’s fault. But Doug feels bad because he knows Ray doesn’t have the money – it’s the cash he gave Doug. Mark urges him to give it back, but Doug already spent half of it on Brett’s treatment. Mark decides he’s done trying to puzzle out this situation.

Susan confronts Weaver for not telling her everything she found on Grace’s examination – she’s being abused. Weaver calmly says she’s handling things, and Susan doesn’t need to get involved in dealing with Mrs. Ramsey. Susan’s distressed that they can’t do more to solve the situation. All they can do is help Grace. Susan monologues about Grace and how she’s never going to find out how things turned out. It’s part of her job, though; she treats a patient and then sends him or her on his way. She admits that Weaver impressed her in her attitude toward the case.

Carter tells T.C. that even though her illness is scary, she’ll be okay for a few months in case a transplant doesn’t come quickly. And once she gets a new liver, she’ll be fine. Carter offers to hang out with her while she’s in the hospital and watch the playoffs with her. T.C.’s sad that she won’t get to play in her own tournament. Mark meets Susan for a late lunch, and she complains that Weaver took over Grace’s intubation. She’s going to therapy, and she’s doing a little better, but she’s not happy. Mark wishes he could do more to help.

Susan monologues that it would be a lot easier if she were helping a patient through a difficult time, instead of going through it herself. In med school she learned how to deliver bad news, but as a doctor she learned that those simulations weren’t realistic. The first person she gave bad news to just walked away. Now that Susan’s had all sorts of experience delivering bad news, she knows how to move on. But now that she’s the one dealing with it, she can’t move on. She can still feel Susie with her, and she doesn’t want to move on.

Riley asks Carol about her interview, reporting that Haskell is dropping the investigation. He knows Carol sided with Shep, which isn’t going to help him. Riley doesn’t think Shep should be working right now – he’s dangerous. Mark gives Loretta some encouragement as she faces another operation. The hardest part for her is taking care of her kids, so Mark has agreed to let them stay with him tonight. Annie and Jimmy come by, having spent some time helping Lydia bandage up Al G.

Doug visits his mom, who guesses that he’s there to borrow money. She couldn’t help him when he was a kid desperate for his father’s attention, but she can help him now, and she’s happy to do so. Weaver brings Al’s chart to Jeanie, who’s already guessed what his diagnosis is: HIV. Weaver wanted to give her the heads up that she should get tested, since he could have been positive for years.

Doug goes to Karen’s and announces that he wants to be with her. But first he needs to come clean about the money. He gives her a check and says he wants her to have it back, not mentioning that he actually spent half of it and got a reimbursement from his mother. Karen appreciates the gesture, revealing that the $25,000 Ray gave Doug was only a drop in the bucket of what he stole from her: $250,000. Dang, Karen’s loaded! (Well, she was before Ray took some of it.)

Shep wants to celebrate the investigation being dropped, but Carol isn’t in the mood. Jeanie goes to Al’s room to give him the news that’s going to change his entire life. Susan monologues about a dream she keeps having where Chloe lets her take Susie for a while. She knew she would have to leave Susie someday, but she didn’t know how much she would love her. She returns to the church, this time with the stuffed dog she was going to give Susie for her birthday. She cries as she leaves it in a pew. She monologues that having Susie made her feel, for the first time in a long time, like she wasn’t alone.

Thoughts: Lily is played by Kyla Pratt. Dottie is played by Emily Kuroda.

Anthony Edwards directed this episode.

Between The X-Files using hard-to-spell names and this show using the same names for multiple characters, I’m faced with a recapping challenge I haven’t dealt with since that reason of The Amazing Race when everyone was named Steve or Jon.

The spiders Mark puts on the board keep sliding down and making me jump.

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